On March 16, 2017, the Franco-German public TV, ARTE, broadcast a documentary “Bulgarians against Corruption”, featuring Assen Yordanov from Bivol. Before the cameras of German journalists, he tells the story of the true owner of the concessionaire “YULEN” that has illegally seized vast territories in the Pirin National Park. Officially “YULEN” is owned by a destitute Cypriot, behind whom hide the owners of First Investment Bank (FIB or FIBANK), he recalls investigations by Bivol (see here and here).

Bivol has already published a video that shows how security teams of “YULEN” are preventing German journalists from filming. According to the guards and their boss, Ivan Obreikov, the ski area was private territory. In fact, the concession does not give such rights to the operator of ski lifts and tracks and the land has always been and remains State property that under the law and the Constitution should be accessible to all. In Bulgaria, however, the rule is not of the law but of the parvenu oligarchs-thugs who consider the State their private property.

After the uniformed guards of YULEN, several tough guys with no identifying company signs also took part in the harassment of journalists. They demonstratively walked close to the TV crew and the accompanying environmentalists and took pictures of them.

The famous economist from the Institute for Market Economy (IME) Krassen Stanchev also came to the rescue of the concessionaire. For a year now, he publicly defends the right of the destitute Cypriot to breach the law in Pirin and make use of public resources, although in his analyses he opposes State aid for private business. Stanchev is one of the main authors of the merciless law on private law officers that legalized the criminal looting of private property in Bulgaria without the possibility of the designated victims to protect themselves. This law has ruined the lives of tens of thousands of Bulgarians and continues to do so.

The report reveals that journalists from ARTE have invited for interview the owner of FIBANK and Chairman of the Bulgarian Ski Federation (BSF) Tseko Minev. Minev has refused an interview and has sent an email that BFS had nothing to do with illegal felling and the construction of ski tracks, though the German journalists saw it with their own eyes. Indeed, on paper, Minev has nothing to do with “YULEN” or the tens of millions that his bank has given to the company of an unemployed Cypriot.

On the very next day, the newspapers of controversial lawmaker and media mogul, Delyan Peevski, launched a malicious smear campaign against the team of ARTE and Bulgarian environmentalists, the documentary recalls. All these media published foolish and totally cynical “talking points” that one of Europe’s largest televisions is staging an attack on the winter resort of Bansko to neutralize it as a competitor of Alpine ski resorts.

Delyan Peevski and “the people from FIB” established flourishing business relations after the oligarch destroyed Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB), his initial source of cheap money, and then transferred the loans to FIB. As an investigation by Bivol, based on data from the Credit Registry, has shown, companies related to Peevski have absorbed over 280 million levs in the period when the Bank was bailed out with public money. In addition to Peevski’s propaganda media – the dailies Telegraph, Monitor and Politika (Politics), the site Blitz and Channel 3 TV, “the people from FIB” lead defamatory campaigns through the dailies 24 Hours, Standard and Trud (Labor), the latter owned by Petyo Blaskov who has credits of over 20 million levs from the Bank, while the attack recently expanded to other media and broadcasts that so far had the image of being independent.

 

This post is also available in: Bulgarian